Imaging thermal expansion and retinal tissue changes during photocoagulation by high speed OCT

Heike H. Müller, Lars Ptaszynski, Kerstin Schlott, Christina Debbeler, Marco Bever, Stefan Koinzer, Reginald Birngruber, Ralf Brinkmann, Gereon Hüttmann*

*Corresponding author for this work
34 Citations (Scopus)


Visualizing retinal photocoagulation by real-time OCT measurements may considerably improve the understanding of thermally induced tissue changes and might enable a better reproducibility of the ocular laser treatment. High speed Doppler OCT with 860 frames per second imaged tissue changes in the fundus of enucleated porcine eyes during laser irradiation. Tissue motion, measured by Doppler OCT with nanometer resolution, was correlated with the temperature increase, which was measured non-invasively by optoacoustics. In enucleated eyes, the increase of the OCT signal near the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) corresponded well to the macroscopically visible whitening of the tissue. At low irradiance, Doppler OCT revealed additionally a reversible thermal expansion of the retina. At higher irradiance additional movement due to irreversible tissue changes was observed. Measurements of the tissue expansion were also possible in vivo in a rabbit with submicrometer resolution when global tissue motion was compensated. Doppler OCT may be used for spatially resolved measurements of retinal temperature increases and thermally induced tissue changes. It can play an important role in understanding the mechanisms of photocoagulation and, eventually, lead to new strategies for retinal laser treatments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1025-1046
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2012


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